Like, to­tally Gross

Wheels (Australia) - - Head To Head -

Build it

Aus­tria in the 1920s was do­ing it tough. Its loss suf­fered in WW1 had seen the econ­omy tank and un­em­ploy­ment soar to around 26 per­cent. The gov­ern­ment-funded Grossglock­ner pro­ject, which be­gan in 1930, would give work to around 4000 men over a five-year pe­riod. Some ex­plo­sives were used, but much of the road was cut by hand.

Race on it

Hill­climb­ing on the Grossglock­ner started in 1935 (on gravel!) and ran up­hill from the north­ern side over a 19.5km course. The quick men in­cluded Hans Stuck ( Snr) in a rear-en­gined Auto Union and Her­mann Lang in a Mercedes. In 1938, a chap named Fer­di­nand Porsche had a crack in a KDF- Wa­gen ( Bee­tle), but was a lit­tle off the pace.

Get to it

The town at the base of the south­ern side of the Grossglock­ner is Heili­gen­blut; on the north­ern side it’s Bruck. Both have plenty of af­ford­able ac­com­mo­da­tion, or stay on the Grossglock­ner it­self at Edel­weis­shuette Inn. There are plenty of restau­rants, hun­dreds of hik­ing trails, and loads of other at­trac­tions be­yond the thrill of driv­ing.

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